The collection of quarterbacks behind Ben Watson’s 47 career touchdown receptions is diverse. It should be.
The tight end is 38 years old. He entered the league in 2004. He’s been a New England Patriot, a Cleveland Brown, a New Orleans Saint and a Baltimore Raven since then.
And then a Saint and a Patriot again.
There’ve been future Hall of Famers on the other side of the Watson connection over the course of his regular seasons and playoff appearances. There’ve been journeymen. There’ve been former first-round picks down to a sixth- and seventh-rounder and an undrafted free agent. Some were once MLB prospects. Another was once in NFL Europe.
Watson has found himself among any and all.
He has logged 23 touchdown catches with the Patriots. He’s also logged 12 with the Saints, eight with the Browns and four with the Ravens. But the list of those delivering Watson the football puts a timestamp on those totals. Their names, with the help of Pro Football Reference, add to the story of a No. 32 overall pick who has checked into 207 combined games.
Here’s a glance through his list of touchdown-bound quarterbacks.
THE WATSON NINE
Tom Brady: 20 – Watson’s initial NFL touchdown arrived via Brady against the Atlanta Falcons on Oct. 9, 2005. It traveled 33 yards on first-and-10 in the third quarter of action at the Georgia Dome, and it was one of three scoring strikes thrown by Brady that afternoon. The others went to Daniel Graham and Bethel Johnson. As for the most recent Brady-to-Watson TD? Flip back through the gamebooks to Dec. 13, 2009 versus the Carolina Panthers. The quarterback and tight end will turn 42 and 39 this August and December, respectively, keeping a league record in the realm of possibility.
Drew Brees: 12 – Brees found Watson for a dozen scores from 2013 on through 2018. All came in the red zone. And in the games in which the Purdue and Georgia products combined for pay dirt, New Orleans went 8-4. Watson secured his last touchdown catch from Brees in victory this past November against the eventual NFC champion Los Angeles Rams – an opponent the tight end was unable to face two months later due to appendicitis.
Colt McCoy: 3 – From 2010 to 2011, McCoy threw three touchdown passes to Watson. Those passes came versus the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cincinnati Bengals and Tennessee Titans, but none of those touchdowns took place in wins for the Browns. McCoy, a two-time first-team All-American out of Texas, has started six games over his past six seasons.
Brandon Weeden: 3 – Weeden, taken by Cleveland in the first round of the 2012 draft at 28 years old, spent time in the minor league systems of the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers and Kansas City Royals. He’d also spend time passing to Watson. Between the midway points of October and November 2012, Weeden and Watson worked in tandem on a trio of touchdowns. The Dallas Cowboys’ defense witnessed two of them.
Matt Cassel: 3 – New Year’s Day 2006 marked the first touchdown shared between Cassel, once a 36th-round pick in the MLB draft and a seventh-round pick in the NFL draft, and Watson. They’d share two more in 2008 following Brady’s placement on injured reserve with a torn ACL and MCL.
Joe Flacco: 2 – The now-Denver Broncos QB threw a pair of touchdowns to Watson during the latter’s lone year on the field for the Ravens. Both took place in the second quarter of December 2017 matchups, with one ending in the end zone from 33 yards away and another from one yard away against the Browns and Detroit Lions.
Ryan Mallett: 2 – Mallett, a Patriots third-round draft choice in 2011, hit Watson twice while with the Ravens two seasons ago. The first transpired in a 44-6 contest against the Jacksonville Jaguars that September. The second transpired a month later against the Miami Dolphins, on a Thursday night that would see Flacco exit early due to a concussion. The Ravens won by a score of 40-0.
Jake Delhomme: 1 – On Dec. 5, 2010, the NFL Europe alumnus, Super Bowl XXXVIII starter and onetime Pro Bowler sent a three-yard touchdown Watson’s way. Delhomme, now 44 years old, retired from football following the 2011 season.
Seneca Wallace: 1 – It was Week 3 of the 2010 season. It was the opening play of the fourth quarter. It was from a yard out. And it ended up being the 27th of 31 touchdowns Wallace tossed during his NFL tenure. But Wallace, Watson and the Eric Mangini-coached Browns would fall to the Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. The goal-line touchdown counted in the archives even so.
It’s now back to Brady after a decade elsewhere. And it isn’t like riding a bike.
“I wouldn’t say that,” Watson told reporters following Tuesday’s session of mandatory minicamp. “I would say maybe like riding a unicycle or something.”